Janet Ramin - Table lamps are very practical light fixtures – sometimes doing double duty in some rooms as they can provide task lighting as well as accent lighting for the room. In my article on Suspended Light, I talked about how hanging light fixtures provide ambient lighting for the room. Table lamps are more specialized – because of their smaller body, they can only throw light on a small area. They’re great for specific tasks – reading, doing deskwork, and for providing an accent light in a corner of the room, where a ceiling light may miss.
The common table lamp usually comes with a lampshade – to control the glare of the lightbulb – and a vasiform shape to hold everything up. Below are typical table lamps made from wood, glass, or ceramic bodies in either vase or urn forms.
First in the group above is the Leah Lamp by Arteriors, a hand-blown purple glass, and great for modern rooms. The Alice Lamp is from Sedgfield by Adams and made of oak. The Julie Lamp has a lattice pattern on its porcelain body from Arteriors. Both lamps work great in classical-styled homes. Last is the Oakwood Caged Lamp by Arteriors, a combination of glass and metalwork, and complements contemporary spaces.
By the middle of the twentieth century, the typical vasiform body was being replaced by much more sculptural forms. An example is the Pimento Table Lampby Jon Gilmore, a wooden tongue-in-cheek rendition of the appetizer.
Our first table lamp above, the Dalu, is a very modern S-curve shape in molded red thermoplastic. The Dalu Lamp by Vico Magistretti for Artemide was first introduced back in the 1960s and is still being reproduced today. The green and clear frosted glass table lamp below is by George Kovacs and features a curved body within another curved form. Both lamps make great accent lights in the room as well as great conversation pieces.
Another sculptural piece that completely does away with the traditional lamp shade is the Fiorellina lamp by the Italian lighting company, SLAMP. Designed by Nigel Coates, the lamp uses Cristalflex and Opalflex materials that reflects and diffuses light. Fiorellina is an imaginative take on a sea creature or some futurustic plant.
As new types of light bulbs came into the market, designers developed new forms of light fixtures. The smaller LED (light-emitting diodes) bulbs give designers the freedom for more creativity, as shown in the Leaf Light below. Designed by Yves Behar for Herman Miller, it's a beautiful expression of flight. So what do I most want to do in the New Year? My resolutions list is l-o-n-g, but near the top is to add more expressive and useful lighting to my home.
Interested in learning more about lighting a room? Take a look at Sheffield School's Complete Course in Interior Design. At Sheffield, you will learn how to transform a space, create color schemes, and select furniture, lighting, and accessories.